Two weeks ago I went to Hamburg on a little trip. To say that I was mesmerized would be an understatement. Since I can think my favorite city in Germany always was Berlin. The powerful history of a divided city, finally merging to one, just got me. Even though many artifacts that witness that particular time, like the Berlin Wall, belong to the past and are made sure to stay there, the merger still does not feel organic and for me that is what makes this city so special. It simply carries a lot.
Munich on the other hand, even though lovely and cute, always felt like an upgraded and posher version of my hometown Vienna. I loved visiting, especially since it’s so clean and perfect but deep inside it reminded me of home.
Then, after many years of my Germany visits, there comes Hamburg. The first perception that I get is very familiar. Hamburg feels very Scandinavian. If Vienna is the gate to the Balkans, Hamburg for sure is the gate to Scandinavia.
The second largest city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg has an impressive history. Located at the North Sea and as such a member of the medieval Hanseatic League, it was the free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire, and a city-state. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a fully sovereign state. Prior to the constitutional changes in 1919, the civic republic was ruled by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten.
Hamburg is a transport hub. As the 2nd largest port in Europe, it is a very affluent city. It has become a media and industrial centre and has been an important financial centre for centuries, being the seat of the world’s second oldest bank, the Berenberg Bank.
I chose to stay in Eppendorf. Eppendorf is a posh quarter of Hamburg and belongs to the Hamburg-Nord borrough. There are many beautiful alleys with stunning fin de siècle buildings. The quarter is rich in cafés, restaurants and boutiques. It is an elegant residential area that is very close to the city, so a young or single person does not miss out on anything.
I start my day with coffee at Le Velo Hamburg, which is owned by my friend Senad Sarac, who is an avid bike lover and has turned his love and passion into a vintage bike and concept store. Senad is restoring genuine and original bikes dating back from 1850s to the 1950s. What comes out is a modern bicycle with an authentic feel.
When you come into one of his shops, you don’t just get a bike, but you also get to drink the best coffee in town and can shop for bike accessories as well as clothes. All handmade and handcrafted in Germany.
Later I’m scheduled to meet Bella, one of the girls of d.j.u.n.a. A native of Hannover, Bella has been a resident of Hamburg for as long as she can think. And as such, I couldn’t think of a better insider. After lunch we go to Mutterland for coffee (my second of the day) and dessert. Bella chooses Arme Ritter and tells me that it is a typical German sweet.
After the sweet tooth experience she takes me on a shopping tour, and I can’t believe my eyes, when I see how much the Scandi brands are present in Hamburg. Acne, Ganni, Custommade,.. you name it. We spent the whole afternoon at Anita Hass, Bella’s favorite boutique. “Such a nice day cannot end without fashion. It’s like the cherry on the top”, she says.
Sunday morning, I wake up early in order to get to the Hafen. Hamburger Hafen is the Port of Hamburg and everybody gathers there on Sunday to eat the best and freshest fish that there is.
Equivalent to the Hafen is the Feskekörka in Göteborg. Now that I had yummie food I am ready to explore the beach. Even though it is October, the weather is still nice and a beach always qualifies for a nice walk.
The next day I explore the city. I am amazed at how many bridges there are in Hamburg, apparently more than in Amsterdam itself. Again the structure of the city reminds me a lot of Scandinavian cities, it is a German city through and through though, even with the Scandinavian touch.
Hamburg carries proudly its history and heritage. One of the most affluent cities in Germany, it radiates class and manners.
My trip to Hamburg slowly comes to an end. The next morning I am happy to catch brunch at Knuth, a place in Altona, a more colorful borrow of the city, which from 1640 to 1864 was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Here goes the Scandi connection.
The weather is wonderful, perfect for sending me off up north.
Needless to say, that I will be back. Hamburg is my new home away from home.
In this blogpost, I am wearing H&M, Acne Studios, Proenza Schouler, Monki, COS, Louis Vuitton, Adidas, and Max Mara.